For many of you the novelty of the last few days snow is probably getting to be a hassle, …and there’s far more coming we are told!
If, like me, you have been busy clearing driveways etc there are actually ONLY so many snowmen, headless or decorated, that you want to create! Plus – its really hardwork for the wrists, arms, back and thighs in particular.
So here are my TOP TIPS for snow preparation and Body Care:
- Wear the right clothes – gloves, proper boots- not trainers that are not man enough for the job and will get saturated, a warm jacket and hat. Waterproof trousers / salopettes if you have them, and under leggings / tights (even for the men! They are BRILLIANT in the cold weather. Don’t worry about the looks – no one can see!) Hat and scarf as you need. You may not need these as the work will get you hot but be wary of cold draughts on the back of the neck.
- Warm up and stretch before you go out – especially the hamstring muscles at the back of the thigh. Pop you foot up on a chair, and with a straight knee bend to wards your leg – back of thigh will stretch / ache a bit. Hold it for at least 30seconds, repeat several times with both legs. Shake your arms out and wrists; stretch your torso.
- Take regular breaks and drink plenty of water! hot or cool. Clearing snow, sledging etc is thirsty work and you can get so engrossed, whilst huffing and puffing that you don’t realise how much water vapour you have breathed out until you are quite dehydrated! If you get dehydrated you will get more cramps and aches and pains and this may lead to more back pain / muscle strains.
- Body posture and position during work is important. Don’t twist more than you have to – move your position!..that’s what legs are for!! Use a long handled spade or shovel and BEND ZE KNEES! – that’s what they are for! NOT your back. If it all goes wrong and your back locks up – call Gayle Palmer sooner than later. 01243 641665
- If you aren’t used to digging you WILL ache! Your muscles haven’t been regularly trained for this type of work remember! The twisting action and throwing heavy shovels of snow often lead to RIB PAIN – frequently mistaken for a heart attack or kidney pain as it can be sharp, esp on an intake of breath or on movement. More noticeable once you have stopped and cooled down. If so, you will need to see Gayle Palmer to get the joint realigned and allow you to move and breathe freely once more! Rest! Plus, the recommended, natural anti-inflammatory is Salmon Oil Plus, from the clinic, vs Ibuprofen etc which can upset the system. Take at least 3 capsules a day, more if you need…there are no contraindications – it’s food! Yeah!
- Post exercise routine – have more water. Take a hot bath or shower to allow muscles to relax. Have some anti-inflammatory Salmon Oil and calcium/magnesium supplement such as KalMag or Osteoguard to stop muscle cramping (both available from the clinic). Cool down with some gentle walking / stretching this stretches the muscle length and prevents further problems! Ah ha!
- More people make light work – get some help! and take regular breaks. It’s more fun too!
- Once you have cleared the snow and ice – put down some salt / grit or dishwasher salt crystals on the main paths of areas that tend to thaw and then re-freeze. It could save a fall and fracture – the hospital is already busy enough! Don’t leave the clearing till AFTER the first night as the snow will freeze, and then your work gets much, much harder, plus there is more danger of the ice under the snow forming black ice and increasing the hazzards! Aim to clear as much snow as you can first thing. Plus, try not to drive on it before clearing, as it compresses the snow further and chipping away it really tedious!
- Keep warm – wear more jumpers and MOVE AROUND REGULARLY – it keeps your circulation active.
- EAT WELL and healthily – winter stews with lots of veg keep you warm too.
- When you have finished your jobs, check on your neighbours too, especially the elderly and vulnerable… Have they got enough food? Are they warm enough? Many don’t realise that they have got hypothermic because their sense of temperature is not so good and they don’t move about much to self-generate heat either. If they feel cold – they are! Make them a big stew / invite them round to share a meal. Call in regularly or phone. Check that you know who their relatives are in case of an emergency and their phone / contact details. Be neighbourly!
Take care in the meantime.
Gayle Palmer is the Living Elements Clinic’s Osteopath and usually the first port of call for enquiries to the clinic. www.livingelements.co.uk Call her on 01243 641665 if things haven’t gone to plan!
© Copyright Gayle Palmer January 2010-19